Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Big Short

Movie Name: The Big Short
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Tracy Letts, Max Greenfield, Karen Gillan, Byron Mann, Adepero Oduye
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis & Review:
Director Adam McKay has made a name for himself directing comedies that have been, for the most part, quite successful, namely "Anchorman"(both the original and the sequel), "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby", "Step Brothers" and "The Other Guys" (all films featuring his producing partner, the hilarious Will Ferrell). "The Big Short" is a definite change of pace for the director, since it's a drama (with tints of dark comedy), tackling the whole debacle that was at the genesis of the economic meltdown that started in 2007. The film is an adaptation of the book by Michael Lewis (two of his books have been successfully adapted to the screen, namely, John Lee Hancock's "The Blind Side" and Bennett Miller's "Moneyball") focuses on 3 central characters and builds an intricate universe of relationships from these central characters onwards. These 3 men are Michael Burry, a manager of a large hedge fund in California, who realizes that the US housing market is very unstable, and who predicts the market will collapse. He realizes he can profit from this situation, and sets about proving himself right, at the cost of alienating some of his investors. When this information reaches the ears of investor Jared Vennett, he realizes those predictions are true, and seeks to also make a profit based on this impending market. Joining him is also Mark Baum, an experienced trader, who comes to realize that the whole system is based on a fraudulent process that knows no limits (or principles).
Circling these three characters, are a series of others who suddenly also realize the pending economic catastrophe, and who are powerless to make any difference.
Adam McKay's "The Big Short" is an expose-film, that captures some of the best traits of the films that Oliver Stone was making in the late 80s early 90s (minus the formal experimentation that was always associated with Oliver Stone). The film smartly mixes the process of explaining the specific jargon and terminology of the financial industry, with a levity of explanation, which allows for the audience to better understand the stakes of what the financial experts were doing on the markets. By also allowing the characters to break the fourth wall and address the audience directly, it builds a rapport with that same audience (particularly in a scenario such as this, where literally everyone was affected by this global economic meltdown). The film synthesizes a lot of information, and slowly peels away the disturbing machinations of a financial market that is based on less than transparent premises. It's a strong film that is anchored on a taut script and fantastic performances from Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. A pertinent and solid film worth watching.